Abseiling Royal Marines fast roped into today’s opening ceremony of the 7th Bournemouth Air Festival. Attended by Forces dignitaries the event celebrated the start of the much anticipated summer festival whilst also marking the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines.

Established in 1664 the Royal Marines arrived with gusto and were presented to Commodore Jamie Miller, Brigadier Piers Hankinson, Group Captain Catherine Coton and The Mayor of Bournemouth Councillor Chris Mayne.

In its 7th year, the Bournemouth Air Festival is the only event of its kind which brings together the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army, Royal Air Force, civilian aircraft, display teams, trading and an awesome Night Air programme – all set against the backdrop of award-winning Bournemouth.

Commodore Miller said; “Over the next four days you will see the greatest ever concentration of Naval force yet at the Bournemouth Air Festival. Working with the Royal Marines, Army and French Navy we will be showcasing what we do best and demonstrating this on Friday to The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Michael Zambellas. We are confident this will be our best year yet!”

Welcoming back aircraft favourites and a number of Festival firsts, the line up for this year’s Festival is not to be missed! With a full allocation of RAF display aircraft, the skies over Bournemouth will be hosting the Red Arrows for all four days, a festival first, the mighty Typhoon (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in a historical never to be seen again flight with the Canadian Lancaster. In addition get set for the Tutor, Tucano, RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team and Dakota.

RAF Group Captain Catherine Coton said; “The Air Festival is a high priority event for the RAF, in terms of audience numbers it is perfect for showcasing our aircraft and offers a first class arena for engaging with the public. We’re really looking forward to the next 4 days and hope the public are too.”

Setting Bournemouth Air Festival apart from the other air shows is the stunning Night Air programme, Thursday – Saturday night from 6.15pm. Kick starting the evening entertainment is the Royal Marines Commando Recruiting Team followed by HM Royal Marines Band (CTCRM) performing the historical sunset Beat Retreat ceremony at 6.30pm. Dusk displays start at 7.15pm and from 8.30pm at the Bournemouth Corona Live Music stage check out ‘The Silver Beatles’ (Thursday), ‘Bootleg Blondie’ (Friday) and ‘ABBA Chique’ (Saturday). Ticketed performances at the Boscombe Corona Wave105 Live Music Stage welcomes acts including Rizzle Kicks, Sigma, Jack Savoretti, Rixton, Nell Bryden and xx Friday and Saturday night.

Jon Weaver, Air Festival Director added; “It really shows how far we have come over the last seven years to have such superb Royal Navy and RAF support. We can’t wait to welcome the First Sea Lord, it’s a really fantastic opportunity for us to demonstrate how the event itself and people of Bournemouth work with and support the Armed Forces. The Royal Navy has played an integral part in making the Air Festival the success it is today and we’re extremely grateful. Year-on-year the event continues to grow with more ships, people and assets. And to have Sir George here to experience this first hand is a real accomplishment for us all!”

Opening the Festival’s display programme and not to be missed is 94-year old wingwalker Tom Lackey, performing for the last 10years he said; “Wing walking keeps me going and at my age I wouldn’t be alive without, it’s what I live for! I hope you’re able to watch me open this year’s Air Festival and can’t wait to show you all what I can do!”

Bringing land, sea and air together, complimented with an incredible Night Air programme the firmly established Bournemouth Air Festival is more than just an air show!

For more information visit bournemouthair.co.uk, follow the Festival Facebook page bournemouthairfestival or follow the team on Twitter @bmthairfest.